Autumn’s the Time for Red Squirrel Fun in Slieve Gullion
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have joined forces with the Ring of Gullion and Cooley Red Squirrel Group to celebrate Red Squirrel Week. The free events will take place at Slieve Gullion Forest Park on Saturday and Sunday, 13 and 14 October, from 1pm to 4pm and those taking part will have fun while learning more about autumn with our furry native red squirrels.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “Not only will this weekend provide fun for the whole family and showcase the beauty of our autumn landscapes, it will also highlight the importance of protecting our native species.
“We are convinced that this event will help people understand more about the red squirrel’s habitat and behaviour, why they’re in danger from factors such as competition from greys, disease, and loss of woodland, and get involved in efforts to protect them. I am pleased that Ulster Wildlife will also be there to talk about their new squirrel project.”
The Red Squirrel Group is encouraging more people to report their sightings of red and grey squirrels to enable it to pinpoint where action is needed. This can include setting up new feeding stations for red squirrels or setting traps for grey squirrels, as well as looking for more volunteers to help with individual schemes.
On both of the event days, there will be face painting, families can have a go at creating their own red squirrel piece of art and a giant red squirrel will be there for photographs. The Ring of Gullion Handcraft and Art (ROGHA), a group of artists and makers all based in South Armagh, will also be on hand to take part in craft workshops, including Caoilfionn Murphy O'Hanlon, Tracey McVerry, Mary Cowan, Mary Larkin, Diane McKevitt and Rozzi Kennedy for the weekend.
Depending on the weather, there will be a number of guided walks with Dr David Tosh along the Red Squirrel Trail. The trail takes the public on a journey of the red squirrels natural habitat. The Herpetological Society of Ireland will also be providing a walk on Saturday to find some of the common lizards, which have been found in the park over the summer.
The weekend’s events are free and supported by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
To book your place visit the website www.ringofgullion.org or call into the office in Crossmaglen Community Centre TEL: 028 3082 8590